We were excitedly expecting our third child on December 2, 2017 - the completion of our family. My 1st trimester went as it always had gone, exhausted and a little nauseated but nothing too severe. Our 20 week ultrasound came along and we decided (ok I decided) that we would not reveal the gender as we had with our other 2 children. This baby was going to be our tie-breaker as we had a daughter and son at home so I wanted to be surprised. The ultrasound technician had a student with her at the time whom we agreed could do the ultrasound. The student did great but I knew something looked “off” when the technician took over and went back over the heart. After examining for a while, she mentioned that she could not get a good reading of the blood flow. She assured us that it did not mean something was wrong with our baby but that our midwife would recommend we see a pediatric cardiologist for a more thorough look. She continued to explain that sometimes it is how the baby is positioned that makes it hard for a clear picture.
Advised that cardiologists perform fetal echos between 24 and 26 weeks, we set up our appointment for the 26 week mark. We went home not too concerned and determined to stay off the internet.
I pushed the “what ifs” out of my head for the next 5 weeks and waited for the appointment. However, we never made it to the appointment. I had my 24 week check up with my midwife on a Monday and the heartbeat sounded great. We laughed because the baby “kicked’ the nurse as she was measuring the heartbeat. We joked that she was a feisty one. That Friday marked 25 weeks. Just after lunch on that very day, and it hit me that baby didn’t wake me up at 4:30am like she always did with her punching and kicking to let me know she was there. I brushed it off to “mom brain” as I was sure she had but I must have forgotten. Saturday came and went as they do when you are busy with 2 littles ones at home but again that night when we finally sat down to relax, I had to convince myself I felt movement that day. I was sure I had felt a kick here or there but was too busy to notice. I went to bed concerned but fought off the nagging feeling that something was wrong. Sunday morning I woke up at 5AM and this time I knew there was no kicking or punching at 4:30 AM to say “hello it’s morning”. I got up, ate a banana, and had some coffee to try and get this baby to start moving. After an hour, I woke up my husband and shared my concerns. We agreed I should call a midwife for her opinion.
At 8AM, I made the call but was advised that the decision was up to me - come into labor and delivery for a check or wait until Monday to visit the office. Undecided, we went to church as a family and I debated what to do. I remember sitting in church, pushing on my belly, praying I'd feel some little movement…anything…but there was nothing. With my husband at home with the kids, I went into labor and delivery to get examined. I never truly expressed how scared I was to go in. I convinced him it was probably all in my head and I would be back shortly. Besides going through labor knowing my baby would not take a breath, the hardest part to that day was calling my husband on the phone telling him they could not find a heartbeat.
On August 20th, 2017 at 9pm, I delivered a beautiful sleeping little girl we named Mary Lea. I will always cherish the short 25 weeks I carried Mary Lea.
“Some children come into our lives and go quickly.
Some children come into our lives and stay awhile.
All our children come into our lives and leave footprints.
Some oh so small; Some a little larger; Some, larger still,
But all have left their footprints on our lives, in our hearts,
And we will never, never be the same”
IN HONOR AND CELEBRATION OF MARY LEA, DONATIONS CAN BE MADE HERE. ON BEHALF OF THE GEISINGER FAMILY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFT.